TSL News Network
JAMMU, Nov 25: In times, when booming private practice defines a good or bad doctor, Head Department of Cardiology in Government Medical College and Super-specialty Hospital (GMC) Jammu Dr. Susheel Sharma is an exception. Philanthropy, social service and compassion seem to have become part of the professional life.
He is one odd doctor who was officially asked by the state government to explain reasons for coming to the hospital even on state as well as national holidays. His confrontations with Health and Medical Education Ministers are a talk of the town. If he finds someone interfering in his work or trying to disturb the smooth functioning of the Cardiology department which he is heading, he doesn’t mind giving him a lesson on ethics and professional needs of doctors.
He has to his credit several path-breaking interventional procedures. He has carried out more than 7000 interventions. Prior to him, interventional procedures used to be a rarity in GMC, Jammu. Not only this, Dr. Susheel Sharma is considered pioneer in Coronary and Non-Coronary Surgical Intervention in GMC Jammu. Despite belonging to a political family of Poonch, Dr. Susheel Sharma prefers being called by his own than being referred as brother of a political stalwart of Poonch and PDP leader Yashpal Sharma, who is presently member of Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of PDP.
A poor cobbler had no money to get operated for a life threatening heart disease. He was rushed to the hospital in pain and anguish by his relatives. His survival was at stake. Dr. Sushil went out of the way, operated him without even asking relatives of this poor man to deposit the required hospital fee or paying for the life saving drugs that the poor man needed during the operation. He made all the arrangements himself and ensured that the poor man comes back to life.
An early riser and deeply religious, Dr. Sushil Sharma starts the day by listening to devotional hymns and if the schedule permits, visiting a temple nearby. He follows this with brisk walk and exercise. He practices what he preaches. A fat-free and protein rich breakfast is what he takes in the morning. As the clock strikes 8, Dr. Sushil is seen in his office chamber in the Government Medical College (GMC) where he chalks out schedule for rest of the day.
He spends most of the time either in the Cath lab or in the OPD, strictly as per the schedule issued recently by the state government. He does not miss out on visiting the CCU and ICU both as a matter of routine and also when he feels the need to return to some patient who is either critically ill or who is not feeling well for any cardiac reason. And Sunday is the day when this philanthropist doctor searches space for doing some social service.
Though the space has been limited and restricted by the state government asking doctors to seek prior permission from it for holding health camps, cardiac seminars and heart workshops; yet Dr. Sushil Sharma does all what he can do to ensure he reaches out to the poor, needy and destitute wherever they are. He does it without any rhyme or reason but on being pressed, he does say that he finds his professional commitment towards heart health more important than anything else.
“Heart is an enigma. A Patient with complete heart block fell down twice outside the catheterization laboratory of my cardiology department. But the moment he was on the operation table in the lab, things began stabilizing and day 2, he walked out of the hospital as if nothing had happened. He is hale and hearty,” says Dr. Sushil Sharma.
He goes on. “It is all about lifestyle change. If you have cardiac disease, you can live a long life provided you make lifestyle changes. They are a must. If you want to prevent yourself from being operated upon, leave your lifestyle. Drive a bicycle, walk miles on foot, keep yourself cheerful and smiling all the time. This is how you can bring down all the parameters which lead to sudden cardiac arrest or at times death,” Dr. Sushil advised. He said that life is precious and one should take extra care in these times when stress is a reality and comfort the biggest threat to life.
“A walk in the morning or in the evening before breakfast and before dinner has the potential to add years to your life. You shorten your life when you stop walking, talking, dancing and smiling. As interventional cardiologist, my advice is to prevent the disease from taking a dangerous turn. A cardiac ailment can be managed for years but what it requires is complete discipline in your daily routine,” Dr. Sushil says.
Amidst the busy schedule in his OPD at Super-specialty Hospital (SSH), Dr. Sushil told Kashmir Life “I see my parents in my patients. I treat them in the same spirit in which one would treat his parents. I still have the pain of having lost my mother to a disease of which I am considered to be specialist. I was in Australia on an official assignment when my mother lost the battle of life. She would often tell me how she wanted me to save lives of people.”
An interventional cardiologist Dr. Sushil Sharma in an emotive tone said “As and when I save a dying patient, I feel I have paid tribute to my parents who sacrificed their days and nights while bringing me up but when I became a specialist in cardiology, they were not there to celebrate with me. My parents were saints in their own way. But I could not make it on time to save those two saints from the cruel hands of destiny. It is this spirit that keeps me going despite gloom and pain all over, said Dr. Sushil with a heavy heart.
About the professional life, Dr. Sushil said “As interventional cardiologist, I have taken pledge not to operate from private clinics. Those who are doing have their own understanding of this profession and I have my own. I don’t stop anyone but I have taken a conscientious decision not to do private practice. Hospital is my temple and it is here where I meet patients and make earnest efforts to see their cardiac issues are resolved.”